Religion and Political Form: Carl Schmitt’s Genealogy of Politics as Critique of Habermas’s Post-secular Discourse

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Cerella, Antonio (2012)

Jürgen Habermas's post-secular account is rapidly attracting attention in many fields as a theoretical framework through which to reconsider the role of religion in contemporary societies. This work seeks to go beyond Habermas's conceptualisation by placing the post-secular discourse within a broader genealogy of the relationships between space, religion, and politics. Drawing on the work of Carl Schmitt, the aim of this article is to contrast the artificial separation between private and public, religious and secular, state and church, and the logic of inclusion/exclusion on which modernity was established. Revisiting this genealogy is also crucial to illustrating, in light of Schmitt's political theory, the problems underlying Habermas's proposal, emphasising its hidden homogenising and universalist logic in an attempt to offer an alternative reflection on the contribution of religious and cultural pluralism within Western democracies.
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    3 Ju¨rgen Habermas, 'Notes on Post-Secular Society', New Perspectives Quarterly, 25:4 (2008), p. 20, emphasis in original.

    4 This is not the place for a discussion of the '(de)secularization debate' for which see the double special issue 'After Secularization', Hedgehog Review, 8:1/2 (2006). For a recent empirical analysis, see Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, Sacred and Secular. Religion and Politics Worldwide (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

    5 In contrast, see Habermas, 'Notes on Post-Secular', p. 17.

    6 Ibid., p. 21.

    7 See Charles Taylor et al., Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994).

    8 Ju¨rgen Habermas and Joseph Ratzinger, The Dialectic of Secularization. On Reason and Religion (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2006).

    9 Habermas, 'Notes on Post-Secular', p. 29.

    10 Ibid., p. 29. See also Ju¨rgen Habermas, 'On the Relations between the Secular Liberal State and Religion', in Hent de Vries and Lawrence E. Sullivan (eds), Political Theologies. Public Religion in a Post-Secular World (New York: Fordham University Press, 2006), pp. 251-60.

    11 Habermas, 'Notes on Post-Secular', p. 28.

    12 Ibid., p. 29.

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